He Preached With Authority

“And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power.” Luke 4:31-32 (KJB)

Speaking of Jesus of course; He spoke amazing things.  His doctrine [teaching] was with power and authority which is probably a redundancy, but for strength and clarity it is repeated.

I pray that I will grow so in love with the Lord Jesus and His word and walk [live] in the fullness of His Spirit [the Holy Spirit] that I too will have that authority.  I do not desire it for myself, but for His name’s sake; and that others might come to know Him as their own personal Lord and Savior.  I pray this for every pastor, every man and woman of God, and every youth who has given their lives to Him.

Let us grow in the Spirit and power of Christ our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Just Sitting There

“And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear His cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink.
And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, ‘They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots.’ And sitting down they watched Him there; and set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Matthew 27:32-37  (KJB)

After the rigged “evidence” and very falsified testimony at an unjust trial, and conviction the soldiers had flogged Jesus, beaten Him nearly to death, and physically weakened.  On the way to the place of crucifixion, He carrying His cross gave way under the load, and they compelled Simon to carry His cross the rest of the way to Golgotha.

Jesus giving His life for the sins of the world; for my sins and for yours; had willingly gave Himself for us; and He is now in the Scripture hanging, bleeding, and dying.  The soldiers just sit down to watch Him die.  There are two others who are dying too, but the soldiers are watching Jesus die.

The King of the Jews was dying for the Jews, and the Gentiles.  He is not only the King of the Jews; He is the King of kings.

The King did not stay on the cross; He was buried, and He rose again from the grave.  He is alive (Please read Matthew 28).  He lives that we all might live too.

Believe Him.

Not the End; The Fulfillment

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
  Matthew 5:17-20  (KJB)

Remember this you who make an end of the Law and the Prophets.  These are the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount

Words of the Prophets – Jeremiah (5)

Your Own Wickedness

 

“Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he spoiled? The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
‘Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,’ saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:14-19

Description of the Wicked

The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil. Psalm 36:1-4 (KJB)

The Thirty six Psalm is titled as “Psalm of David servant of the LORD”.  You may, if you desire, follow the link above for a further study of verse one.

The description of the wicked is this;  keep in mind this is not my description, it is of no human origin.  Though David did pen it down it is divinely inspired;  That description of the wicked…

  1. …The wicked are flattered by themselves, and many times found by others to be hateful.
  2. …The wicked has a mouth with words of iniquity and deceit; their words are often vile, malicious, full of gossip, and lying.
  3. …The wicked has forsaken all wisdom, maybe even some common sense, and forsakes doing good.
  4. …The wicked plans, schemes, and devises wicked mischief while they lay in bed; “How can I better myself against those who appear to be better than me.”
  5. …The wicked set themselves on the opposite side of good; calling what is good “Evil”; and calling what is evil “Good”.
  6. …The wicked cares not for what is good, and does not hate what is evil, but lives in it themselves.

As a Christian I am to “Abhor evil” (Romans 12:9), and “to cleave to that which is good”.  That begins by trusting in the finished word of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross, His burial, and bodily resurrection.  GOD hated evil so much that He put His own Son to death on that cross to redeem evil, wicked mankind unto Himself.

Words of the Prophets – Zechariah

Jerusalem Safely Inhabited

“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one. All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.”  Zechariah 14:8-15 (KJV)

Finding the Knowledge of God

You Shall Find the Knowledge of God – Proverbs 2:1-9

Verses 1 – 5 –  “…If thou wilt receive my words…”  The “ifs” of learning and instruction.  Using the affectionate term “my son” the parent, the teacher continues the instruction.  The “ifs” state a conditional teaching.

“Receive” means to seize, take hold of when they are heard and taught.  It is as though to be taken and applied as it is your very own. “Hide” to hoard them, protect them; meaning do not let anything pervert or change them.  This word is used again in verse 7 as “Layeth up”.

The “commandments” are those things which are being taught; the Law, Ordinances, precepts.

These should be sought as though it was the most excellent treasure; “silver” “hid treasures”.  When these “ifs”; ie. these conditions are met, then you will “find the knowledge of God” (v. 5).

Verse 6 –  “The LORD giveth wisdom”  The source of wisdom and knowledge.  Since it is the LORD who gives wisdom, it must be clear that knowledge and understanding; closely associated with wisdom; then must also be given by the LORD through wisdom.

“…Out of His mouth”  The study note from the MacArthur Study Bible states,

“His mouth. The words of His mouth are contained in Scripture.  It is there that God speaks (cf. Heb. 1:1-2;  2 Pet. 1:20, 21).  Wisdom comes only by revelation.”

Knowledge in our current society is associated with having received an education at a college, university, etc.  The knowledge we read of here is that knowledge which only God Himself gives.

Verse 7 –  “He layeth up sound wisdom”  The Hebrew word for “layeth up” is the same as that for hide as in verse 1.  Sound wisdom is thus stored up by God for the righteous.

It could have much to do with Amos’s words,

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7

and even Jesus’s words to Peter at his confession of Christ (Matthew 16:17).

“He is a buckler” – Buckler is a shield, a form of defense.   The LORD is a defense, our whole defense against the wicked and the peril of the wicked.

Verses 8 – 9 –  “He keepeth the paths..”  The LORD guards and maintains.   From the Pulpit Commentary this note,

“It is God who “keepeth the paths of judgment,” as he alone has the power to do so. He watches over all that walk therein, guides, superintends, and protects them.”  e-Sword edition.

“Preserveth the way of His saints” is as the LORD putting a hedge around to protect the righteous as they walk in Him.

Verse 9 then, tells us that in His keeping and preserving (Hedging us in) we “understand” righteousness, judgment, and equity (which is equality, or fairness).

Our understanding of equality, righteousness, judgment; God’s keeping us, and preserving us must come from the wisdom of God.  When we receive correct instruction we should hide it within our hearts and minds; keeping it for use in life’s situations.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God of Our Hope

The God of Hope

Romans 15:1-33

The chapter begins with summing up of the previous teaching of considering others in our demeanor, actions, and deportment. We need to act in accordance with what will glorify our Lord, and keep our brother or sister in Christ from falling.

Paul even means that we go much further than tolerating a brother’s weakness, but rather do all possible to strengthen them in faith. Carry their load. Carry them when necessary.

We are to see to it that we with one mind and one mouth glorify God together, “even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Having the heart, mind, and mouth like unto that of Jesus Himself. Being likeminded together, with Him (vv. 1-7).

Paul was obviously a believer in God’s promises. He understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promises of God, and their confirmation.

1. The Confirmation of the Promises came by Jesus Christ (v. 8). The Old Testament is full of promises. Promises of the coming One. A Deliverer. The Messiah. A Savior who will save the people from their sins.

In Jesus’s birth He confirmed Scripture. Born a Jew. Born in Bethlehem. Called a Nazarene. He fulfilled the law.

He was a healer; healing the lame, and the blind. Lepers were freed from their sores, the dead were raised to life. He walked on the water, stilled storms, fed multitudes, and cast our demons

Only few followed Him, and still chose to go to the cross and die for our sins as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).

2. Jesus Confirmed the Promises by Opening the Gate for all people. Paul reminds his readers that God’s plan has always been to include all people no matter what their race or nationality or culture (vv. 9-13).

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalms 18:49 (KJV) v. 9.

(v. 10) “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” Deut 32:43 (KJV).

(v. 11) “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” Psalms 117:1 (KJV).

(v. 12) “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” and “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:1, 10 (KJV)

All our hope and power is from the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

3. Something in which to Boast (vv. 14-21). When is it right to boast? We can boast of the faith, work, patience, boldness, and goodness that others do through Christ Jesus.

We can boast of the goodness of God, and what He has done in us, and through us.

To boast of anything concerning Jesus’s mighty deeds is a good boast.

4. Through Prayer for the Sovereign Leadership of the Lord in our lives and other’s lives we can grow in trusting The God of Hope (vv. 22-33). The following was the desire of Paul’s heart, and his requests from the Roman Christians.

To be delivered from the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem;

That his work and ministry for Jerusalem would be accepted by the believers;

That he would be able to visit them – at Rome – in the will of God and be “refreshed” = renewing joy, peace and rest; with them.

God is the sovereign One. He directs the affairs of all people in all lands. His will will be done despite our arrogant, self-styled, self-willed disobedience.

Treatment of Others

Believer’s Treatment of Others

Romans 12:9-21

Jesus told us, “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.” John 13:35. There is no question about it God/Christ has established one Church – His Body. Those who are in His body love one another. It cannot be otherwise. No believer can love God and hate another. To say one loves God, and to hate another is hypocrisy.

To love God is to hate evil. Paul uses the word “Abhor”. The true believer will hate evil just as our holy and righteous God hates it. We will hate evil because we see evil as the hyenas. They are mortal enemies, and so should the Christian and sin be also.

1. Christian love is to be without hypocrisy. To say you love and do not show love is hypocrisy, and does nothing to aid or help the brethren in need. Christian love does not speak ill of another. Does not speak one way to one, and different way to the one spoken of. Christian love prefers others over self. (vv. 9 – 10).

2. Christian diligence. When a Christian sees the need of a brother/sister they will react to with haste to see that need is filled. They will act to the point of taking care of that need themselves when they are able to do so. Hospitality is caring for the needs of others (vv. 11 – 13).

3. Christian grace. Show grace to those who will persecute you (v. 14).

4. Christian rejoicing. We ought to rejoice when our brother/sister is rejoicing. We may not be able to always understand our brother’s grief, but we can still be sympathetic and weep with them when they are weeping. Never thinking of ourselves more highly, because we are not the one who is suffering; you will (vv. 15 – 16).

5. Christian treatment of the ungodly. There is no doubt Christians will have those who could be our enemies. However, our real enemy is Satan. He uses others to spew forth his venomous hatred of all that is godly.

* Therefore, it is good for us to remember not to do evil deeds against evil. Our first reaction is to strike out, but the nature of Christ in us enables and empowers us to love.
* The believer is to seek peace with all people. We know however, that is not always possible.
* We are to seek forgiveness for any wrong we have done; not hold a grudge, nor seek to avenge wrongs done to us. If we are bitter it is a sign of a lack of peace with the one we are bitter toward.
* If we seek to avenge a wrong done to us; eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, then we enter the realm that belongs only to God and government. We must realize that God’s justice is far greater than our own. We need to keep in mind that in this passage of Scripture he is writing of the individual not society or government. God has given authority to human government to avenge (Romans 13:4). Vengeance belongs to God alone.

6. Do good things to and for those who mistreat you. If he/she is hungry give them something to eat and drink. If you see a bad neighbor’s cow in the road, open the gate and put it back in his pasture. Bake a cake and take it to them. These kind acts may just gain you a brother or sister and maybe both, in Christ.

7. Contrary to what some and many may think there is much more power in love than in hate. Trying to overcome evil with evil only adds fuel to an already blazing fire. Love has a calming affect. “Overcome evil with good.”

Provoked Jealousy

Provoked To Jealousy

Romans 11:7-14

Many Israeli people who live in the land, most of them calling themselves Jewish, have no convictions concerning God, or promises of the land. More of those who profess to be orthodox Jews are growing toward that.

National Israel is in a state of unbelief. They adhere to the old forms of ritualism and laws, but are unable to practice them, and they do not know God, The ones who do know God have been chosen by Him, and through their faith in Jesus Christ; the true Messiah of Israel. The old forms were relying upon their rituals, Sabbaths, and holy days to achieve righteousness.

THEY HAD NOT OBTAINED THAT FOR WHICH THEY HAD SOUGHT (vv. 7-8)

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for:”

They, the orthodox Jew, was seeking the righteousness of God by their rituals. When their means of salvation presented Himself to them they crucified Him.

2. “…But the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” The one’s who were chosen and elected by God to faith in Jesus Christ were the one’s who truly obtained the righteousness of God. They met Jesus, believed Him, and followed Him; and through them established what we know as the Church.

3. “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” Romans 11:8 (KJV). The one’s who continued to reject did so because their eyes were blinded, but as we shall see later in this study of chapter 11 it was for the benefit of Gentiles blessing.

DAVID EVEN HAS SOMETHING TO SAY CONCERNING UNBELIEVING ISRAEL (v. 9- 10; Psalm 69:21-23).

“And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:  Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.” Romans 11:9-10 (KJV).

1. The very things in which these trusted would become a snare unto them. The table usually thought to be a place of safety, because of their rejection of Messiah would become a snare, a trap, and a stumbling block. The very things they believed in were the source of their blinding.

2. In the source of Paul’s quotation even David says this of those who would give our Savior gall to drink.

3. Can we as Christians become so knowledgeable or stringent on ordinances or law that we miss our Lord and Savior?

IF THROUGH THE FALL OF THE JEW WE HAVE BEEN SAVED, HOW MUCH MORE RICHNESS SHALL THERE BE WHEN THEY REACH FULFILLMENT IN CHRIST (vv. 11-12)?

“ I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” Romans 11:11-12 (KJV)

1. It seems implied that the question is “Have they fallen to never rise again?” And, Paul’s answer to that is “God forbid!” or “NO!”. Salvation came to the Gentiles through their fall, and to make them jealous. We have received what they have long sought for, the righteousness of God.

2. The kingdom of Christ will be full with the household of Israel coming into the kingdom fold. This will be a blessing to the whole Church.

PAUL’S CONTINUED DESIRE TO SEE HIS BRETHREN IN THE FLESH COME TO CHRIST (vv. 13-14)

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” Romans 11:13-14 (KJV)

1. Though Paul, as a Jew, is an apostle to the Gentiles; he has not given up on the Hebrew people. When we have been called to faith in Jesus there are people that we will no longer have close associations with. That should not mean that we forget them, and never share the faith of Jesus Christ with them.

2. To have desire that others would be saved, and do what we can to see them saved, is more than admirable it is our commission.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Will of Mercy

God’s Will Of Mercy

Romans 9:14-24

Is God unrighteous because He chooses some and not others? NO! NO! NO! NEVER! He is God. He is the Creator of all things. He is not limited in any way. If He cannot choose whom He will, then, He is not sovereign and is not God.

God told Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (v. 15; Exodus 33:19). Pharoah was even chosen by God to be an instrument of God’s glory by his hardened heart (v. 17; Exodus 9:16).

Anyone rejecting God’s way will be an instrument of His glory and a vessel of His wrath. Pharoah had rejected the word of God through His servant Moses, therefore He was used in His rebellion to fulfill God’s will and glory.

God is the potter, we are the clay. If God chooses to save some, then, we ought to rejoice rather than question His character. Honest questions due to lack of understanding and knowledge are acceptable, but bringing charges by frivolous questioning; against our Maker; of unrighteous conduct is blasphemous.

God is patient and waits for “Vessels of wrath” to repent. He does this to show the “Riches of His glory”. From every tribe, tongue, and Nation He does this.

v. 14 — There is no unrighteousness in God because He chooses one rather than another. His grace and His mercy is far beyond our understanding. The only thing we should say is, “Thank You Father”;

v. 15 — Paul here quotes Moses from Exodus 33:19 establishing the Old Testament link of God’s mercy and compassion on whom He chooses;

v. 16 — Paul is reasserting the fact of God’s grace fully given in salvation. No one wills on their own to be saved. No one can pick the day they choose for salvation; that is of God alone – If you aren’t saved the day He calls, then, you could be condemned forever;

v. 17 — God chose Pharoah for His own glory to be a vessel of wrath; God had given Pharoah ample opportunity to do the right thing and let the people go, but he would not;

v. 18 — Mercy had been extended to Pharoah in God’s offer, through the word spoken by Moses, “Let My people go, that they may serve me”. God did not have to go to Pharoah in this manner, but he did in order to show mercy; after Pharoah hardened his heart to God and His Word, God hardens his heart;

v. 19 — If God does this, why are we charged with sin? If this be so does that, then, mean that God is the author of sin? NO!!! It means that sin has no authority over God; it can also mean that our own sin will be our judge (SEE Jeremiah 2:19); We are all guilty of sin. We all stand accountable to God;

vv. 20-21 — Making charges of such foolishness against God is unrighteous in itself; If you built a house and that house could question you and ask you, “Why did you make me a quarter inch off square?” It would not have a right to do so. Maybe a better question would be, “Why did you spend so much time in building me, and then, decided to live elsewhere?” God is as our potter, and we are the clay; He has power to appoint us as He wills and chooses. One can be chosen for honor, and another to dishonor;

vv. 22-24 — Within Paul’s question is much to think on. It is a lengthy question. The answer is within the question, and the previous remarks. By His mercy, He has extended the opportunity to others to come to faith in Jesus Christ. God has extended long periods of patience in mercy toward the evil ones, and given them ample opportunity to repent and believe, but they have not.

Mercy has been extended to all the world. Many seem to believe that God is not merciful, but if you could see through the eyes of mercy you could see that mercy is everywhere. When you have experienced mercy, there is mercy for others from you. God has called and chosen not only from the Jews, but also from the Gentiles.

God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and upon whom He wills He will have compassion. Mercy = God’s not giving to us what we truly deserve; and that is His wrath.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Reckoning

Here is the final study for Romans 4.  The last time I only published for verses 1-4.  It is included in this study as well. Be blessed.

The Reckoning

Romans 4:1 – 25

OUTLINE –

I. AN EXAMPLE OF A UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).
II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).
III. THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO WHAT WE HAVE INVESTED OR PUT TO THE ACCOUNT (vv. 9-12).
IV. THIS RECKONING OF JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).
V. IT IS THE RECKONING OF GOD HIMSELF; NO HUMAN WORKS ARE CALLED FOR (vv. 18-25).

It was, and probably still is, a popular belief among Jews of Paul’s day and Jews and non-Jews of our day to believe that Abraham was declared righteous by God due to his obedience. Paul puts the record straight.

How were people of the Old Testament saved? Was it by complete obedience to God’s law? Was it by the sacrifice of bulls, goats, lambs, etc.? What does the Scriptures say?

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (3:20).

“Abraham believed God…” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6-9).

No one has ever been saved by keeping the law, no one will ever be saved by keeping the law. To see that it is by faith in God alone that saves God gives us ample Scriptures to prove it. For example Psalm 32:1-2; and Hebrews 11.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, David, Solomon, etc. are all evidences of justification by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They believing what would be; we believing what has been and shall be.

There are three words in this study which stand out as a theme. The first word is ‘Reckoned’ found in verses 4, 9, and 10. The second word is ‘Impute’, is used six times, in verses 6, 8, 11, 22, 23, and 24. The third word is ‘counted’, it is used only twice. They all come from the same Greek word logizomai – log-id’-zom-ahee – of these words are terms for accounting. God’s declaring us righteous, and justified.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).

Salvation by grace through faith is unique – one of a kind. There is nothing like it in religion. Grace is not possible by work. If it is not by faith it is not grace.

Since many of the Jews believed that Abraham was justified by works Paul realized that this fallacy needed correction. If Abraham was justified (declared righteous by God) by his works he would then have a reason to boast. His boasting, of course, would have to be before men. He would not glory before God. God’s glory is a glory of its own. Man’s glory cannot match the glory of God.

God delights in those who believe in Him. Those who realize they are weak and helpless to save themselves. Those who have no one else in which to turn, but Him. Those whose hearts are broken and shattered because they realize there is no other hope by Him. Those who have reached the bottom of the bottom, the lowest low. These realize then, God is my hope, my strength, song, salvation, my very source of peace, life and joy.

“A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).

When God called Abraham to leave his native land he obeyed, and left. Now understand, Abraham was at that time what the Jews would call a Gentile – there were no Jews. In his culture they worshipped idols, and were despicable in their behavior. Somehow in the midst of all this darkness God shined brightly His light into the life of Abraham, he saw, he heard, and he left this land of despicable sin and shame – the Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:31). He even came out with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and his wife Sarah as well as others who are unnamed.

If you heard God speak for the first time would you get up and leave your home, friends, ownership of your land, business, etc. to obey God? Many will not do that whose lives they say belong to Him. Abraham did. How did he do it? He believed God, then he put one foot in front of the other; over and over again. Faith is the end of any attempt to gain God’s favor on any personal merit. If you could gain God’s favor by personal merit it would be by works not grace, therefore, if the works ceased, so too would the favor of God.

When a man or woman takes on a job (work) he/she expects to be paid. The employer is indebted to the employee until the employee receives his/her wages. In like fashion if we worked for our salvation God would be indebted to us until the debt was paid. God is indebted to no one. He did not, nor does not even owe us the possibility of salvation. In His grace He paid our sin debt, and then, when we believe He declares us righteous. What wonderful grace. “Wonderful grace of Jesus; greater than all my sin, how can my tongue describe it; where shall my praise begin.”

THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).

You are deeply in debt. There is no way out. The banks and loan companies will neither one loan you money. The creditors are calling, writing wanting the money that is due them. You do not have it. You are barely putting food on the table, your house needs repairs, but where are you going to get the money necessary to make them? The only way out is bankruptcy. You do not like it, but you finally admit to yourself, “I can’t do anything else, I am bankrupt.” In despair you tell a friend that you are bankrupt. The friend asks you, “How much do you need to get back on your feet?” You have not got a clue as to what is going on in this friends mind. A few weeks later you get your bank statement, but instead of being overdrawn you have a balance sufficient enough to pay all your debts.

The amazing part about it is you learn your friend sold some properties – prize properties – and deposited the money into your account. What a friend. Your friend gave his very best to help you out of your bondage of debt. He credited your account with his assets.

What happened above is a description of imputing or imputation. The friend above took the responsibility of paying the debt for his bankrupt friend. He took the burden of the bankruptcy himself and, and imputed, reckoned, accounted his riches to his friend.

Guess what, or maybe you do not have to guess. You are the bankrupt friend, and Jesus is the friend who gave up the riches of Heaven to deliver you from your bankruptcy of sin.

The word ‘counted’ or ‘accounted’ used in verse five (5) is the same word as ‘imputeth’ of verse six (6), and ‘impute’ in verse seven (7). It is also the same as ‘reckoned’ in verse ten (10).

David, the ‘Man after God’s own heart’ is also given as an example of a man of faith. Paul quotes from Psalm32:1-2 as an example of David’s faith (vv. 7-8). Iniquities forgiven, sins covered. The man who is forgiven and sins covered is the one the Lord declares righteous. He deserves imputed imputed sin, but rather receives imputed righteousness by the sacrifice of Jesus who paid the sin debt and imputed to the bankrupted account righteousness. The individual who is declared righteous by God is truly a blessed and happy person.

THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO AN ORDINANCE PERFORMED (vv. 9-12).

Abraham was and is the ‘father’ of the nation of Israel, the people called Hebrews or Jews. In much of the life of the nation; especially in Jesus’s time; they prided themselves of their identity with Abraham by circumcision. As long as they had kept the ordinance they were fine with God. Afterall, God had promised Abraham many things and He was obligated to fulfill them.. Only to a nation of those who believed in Him. Only to a nation who had the faith of Abraham. A faith of fear, obedience, love and admiration of God. The afore mentioned ‘fear’ is the fear of God’s wrath on sin, which leads to a desire to be delivered from sin and a personal hatred for all sin.

In looking at the history of Abraham we find that he was declared righteous by God, at least fourteen years before he was circumcised. So we see Abraham was declared righteous by faith in God, not by the keeping of ordinance or law (Gen. 15:6, “And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he [God] counted it to him for righteousness”). When God called Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees he believed God and departed (Gen. 11:31). When God told him he would have a son of promise he believed God (Gen. 15:1-5; 17:19). When God called him to sacrifice Isaac; the promised son; he believed God (Gen. 22:1-14). He did it because he believed that since God had made the promise – “In Isaac will thy seed be called” (Gen. 21:12); that God could raise him from the dead (Heb. 11:18-19).

By Abraham’s faith he became the ‘father’ of the circumcised who are in the faith and the uncircumcised in the faith. Faith recognizes our need of grace – God’s sufficient grace – and of God’s desire to give grace.

To Abraham circumcision was only a sign of righteousness given to him by God. As circumcision is the cutting away of flesh, so too is faith in Jesus Christ. Only by faith in Christ Jesus is the flesh of the heart cut away. The power of sin is cut away. Without the finished work of Jesus on the cross, by His death, burial, and resurrection, the cutting away of the flesh of the heart is impossible. Ordinances can only be signs or tokens of the actual event. Ordinance without faith is vain.

THE JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).

A promise is nothing without faith. Faith in the Promissor is necessary for the promise to have effect.

What good is a promise; particularly an unconditional promise; if you must earn its fulfillment? The promise to Abraham and his descendants was not going to be granted to them by keeping the law, nor was it based on the law. The promise is awarded by faith in God.

The ‘righteousness of faith’ (v. 13) is the only righteousness that is declared by God and upon all who will receive it.

The only promise of the law is wrath. The law declares all to be unrighteous, unworthy of God’s goodness, kindness, mercy, and grace. So the law could not bring in the promise of ‘Heir of the world’; not even to mention the salvation of wicked men.

Grace works only by faith. Remember faith is our quitting the attempt to please God on our own merit, and pleasing Him only through the work of Jesus Christ. Grace would not be grace, if we could earn it. It would be a debt owed us by God. He owes us nothing. Faith gives to God everything He deserves from His highest of all creation. He does not need it, but He deserves it.

Seeing the unseen, knowing the unknowable, believing what seems to be unbelievable – that is the faith of Abraham. When Sarah was 89 and Abraham was 99; God promised them anew, that He would give them a son. They believed. In other words, God brought life from death. O, will you believe God? He does what He says He will do. Justification is good for all through faith alone. No amount of works, nor law kept, no ordinance performed can justify you in God’s sight. Only by His Word are you justified, and that by faith – faith He alone gives. His faith’s object is only Jesus.

IT IS THE POWER OF GOD, NOT HUMAN EFFORT (vv. 18-25).

Did Abraham believe in resurrection power? Did he believe in the power of the resurrection? YES! and YES! again. To he and Sarah the chance of them having a child of promise looked hopeless. Sure Abraham and Sarah made a mistake, slipped into doubt, or really thought they were helping God out, for awhile; but it did not endure. Their faith in God did endure.

“Unbelief” verse 20 is a complete refusal of faith – refusal to believe. It was because of ‘unbelief’ that Israel, led by Moses, did not enter the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea (Num. 13:26 – 14:4; Heb. 3:16 – 4:13). Despite the waiting Abraham believed. At times it probably seemed that God was pushing faith to its limits, but when Abraham realized his physical body and Sarah’s was dead he knew all he had was God’s promise. That is faith.

When you have reached a point in your life where your realize all you have is faith that God will keep His promise; that is when God will work. He did in Abraham and Sarah, and a 100 years old man and a 90 years old woman had a baby boy. That was a miracle birth. There are not very many miracle births. There are only three in the Bible – Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus; and possibly four if you counted Samson.

Faith is believing that God is completely able to do what He said. He is able to perform it, bring it to pass – in His way, in His time and through whomsoever He pleases; if He pleases to use a whomsoever. Because of this faith – not human effort – God declares Abraham ‘Righteous’, clean, pure, sinless before God.

Since Abraham was declared righteous by faith so is everyone who believes God. Do you want to walk with God? Then, you have to agree with Him. You have to agree with Him about your sin [your bankruptcy]. You have to agree with Him that there is a wall of separation between you and Him. You must agree with Him about His Son Jesus. You must agree with Him concerning His Word – written and living.

“How can two walk together unless they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)?

Abraham was declared righteous by God, because he agreed with God. That just simply means he believed what God said.  He agreed with God.

Justification is not by human effort or obedience to law, and ordinances, or faith and grace have no merit. Justification is by grace through faith in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and raised from death as evidence of God’s approval upon His life and sacrifice giving us God’s righteousness by faith.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When God Gives Up #2

We have been looking at the question WHAT HAPPENS WHEN GOD ‘GIVES UP’?

In the last study we saw that TRUTH IS REPRESSED BY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS in verses Romans 1:18-23.

The second thing we see is that GOD RELEASES THEM TO THEIR OWN DECAY AND FILTH OF IMMORALITY (Romans 1:24-25).

Why did God “give them up” to this ungodly – unrighteous behavior? They had a knowledge of God, but chose to suppress it. They turned away from God to worship idols made in the image of created thing – birds, beasts, and even themselves. Because they rejected God; sexual immorality most always follows wrong beliefs, and in particular the worship of idols. It is an act of dishonoring the human body and God.

When they turned from the truth they believed the Lie. The Lie is, “Did God really say that?” It is just a question, but one that places the seeds of unbelief in the heart. It was the first question the Bible speaks of that the serpent/devil asked in order to deceive. It is still being asked today. Not one of many lies but “the Lie” (Genesis 3:1-5).

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” [the Lie] (NKJV 2 Thessalonians 2:11).

The Lie, that we can be like God – we become our own god. We have chaos when there is more than one God. There is war, strife of all sorts, contentions, and immoral living.

Satan is the father of lies. Jesus said, speaking to the religious leaders who rejected Him,

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the begining, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

Following this lid requires no accountability to a deity, except self. No one, can tell someone of this mindset, what is right or wrong. To them everything is ‘relative’ – they already have their preconceived ideas; they call good ‘evil’ and evil ‘good’.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

Moral decay, such as we see in our land, and the world is due to denying the truth, and believing the Lie, the father of lies, the devil.

-Tim A. Blankenship

When GOD Gives Up

What Happens When God Gives Up?

This is the first part of this section of Romans 1:18-32. This part will deal with verses 18-23.

It is my belief that abhorrent behavior, such as this passage of Scripture speaks of, is not the cause of God’s wrath, but rather, the result of His wrath, and the followers of Christ are to see this wrath as a warning to return to God. There is a sure judgment coming.

Let me give a point of clarity for these first three chapters of Romans: in verses 18-32 Paul is writing of pagan Gentiles; Chapter 2:1 – chapter 3:8 he is writing of the Jewish/Hebrew – religious/moral people; In chapter 3:9 – verse 20 Paul referrs to us all.

When God “Gives Up” it means He is letting sin have its way until it reaches a pinnacle (Gen. 15:16), then, He will involve Himself in the judgment to follow. The phrase, “God gave them up’ or ‘God gave them over” is used three times in the remainder of chapter one (vv. 24, 26, 28).

It is a sad day when God pulls back and says, “Okay, it is yours; do it your way”.

Man’s science says man evolved from a glob and is getting better and better – God says man is depraved and devolved and is getting worse and worse as he rejects God and His way.

To answer the question of the title; in verses 18-23 we see THE TRUTH IS REPRESSED BY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.

The truth is revealed in nature. The unrighteous cannot see God. All creation shouts that it has a Creator; “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Ps. 19:1). The order of the universe – the revolution of the planets around the sun in order. Each created being does what it was designed to do – except humankind, and the rest of creation has been corrupted by man.

The truth of God is revealed in the conscience of man. Everyone is born with an inborn consciousness of a supreme being. The need to worship something. The need to be fulfilled – even if that means worshipping self.

Because of natural revelation every one is without excuse (v. 20).

The truth is suppressed by idolatry. Anything that may seem to fill the void of one’s life. Changing their glory (representation) into what they worship. Men become like what they worship (PS. 115:4-8; 135:15-18). The beast of the field, birds of the air only act by their instincts. Man, created in God’s image, is to reason, think, and act accordingly; not according to unholy desire and lust.

As long as people continue to try and make God in their image there will be sin and chaos in the world. There will be wars, sickness, disease, killing, robbing, maiming, etc.. When men and women realize they are made by God, in His image through faith in Christ Jesus, there will be a change of character, integrity, and all of life for good, to the glory of the Lord.

God involved Himself in the judgment of sin at the cross, as He laid on His Son Jesus all our sin. God Judged our sin on Jesus, took His life, as the payment for our sin debt, and because of this grace you and I now have access to the very throne of God. Call on His name. He will save you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Breaking Heart

“And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom.” 2 Samuel 15:13 (KJB)

How does one respond when they get news from a messenger that their son has schemed against them, and is taking over your business or the kingdom?  How does King David respond when the son he loves, has greatly indulged in allowances of grief, murdering his brother, and all, has brought him back to Jerusalem?

No one of us would like getting this kind of news.  We all like good news.

Why would something like this happen to a king whose heart was like unto God’s heart?  Remember what David did?  He slept with a soldier’s wife; a warrior who was one of the top 37 men in his forces; then had him murdered on the battlefield.  God’s word to him was that he would not die because of his sin but their would be chaos in his family (2 Samuel 12:11), and this is now happening.

There is however for you and me a good message of hope and salvation; if we will hear it.  Jesus Chris the Son of God, God the Son has died on the cross for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again.  That hope does not end there, however.  He is returning and all the kingdoms of men will fall before him.

Why do we worry?  Why do we fear?  Let us stand strong and faithful to God, His Son, and His word.

Sleeping

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read 1 Samuel 26 – 28…

“So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them.” 1 Samuel 26:12 (KJB)
“For they were all asleep because a deep sleep from the LORD had fallen on them.” 26:12b (NKJB)

As you can see King Saul was caught in one of those vulnerable situations we mentioned yesterday.  It does not seem that there is any more vulnerable time than when we are sleeping.  We need sleep for our bodies to recuperate, and renew for a new day.

The account of these words are such that we can learn about the sleep that occurs here.

David and Abishai – brother of Joab – were in Saul’s camp while…

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Much Needed Repentance

Shiloah Baptist Church

Please read for today Judges 9 – 10…

“And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, ‘We have sinned: do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee; deliver us only, we pray Thee, this day.'” Judges 10:15  (KJB)

Since the death of Gideon the tribes of Israel had grossly strayed from the path the LORD had laid out for them, and had turned to the worship of foreign gods, which means they had turned their backs on the LORD.  The LORD God was the One who had delivered them from Egypt, gave them deliverance through crossing the Red Sea, provided water from the Rock, given them manna for bread in the wilderness, and protected them from many enemies in their journey.  Yet they had gone astray in the land of Promise.

Reading chapters 9 – 10 of Judges we find departure, defeat, and chaos.  They are distressed by…

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Faith and Courage

Shiloah Baptist Church

Reading Joshua 13 – 15 for today…

“Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.”  Joshua 14:14  (KJB)

How is it that Caleb “Wholly followed the LORD God of Israel”?  When you hear of Caleb in reading Scripture he is always the one who seeks to do the will of God, to be used by Him to accomplish God’s purposes, and fulfill God’s promises in his life.  He does not go after those easy things.

The courage and faith of Caleb was to seek out the most difficult and trust the LORD for victory.

Caleb was one of the two who in the first viewing of Canaan by the twelve spies, returned with trust in God and victory in his heart to take the land (Numbers 13-14).  Joshua was the other, and…

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I Trust in You LORD

Unto Thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You: let me not be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me.”  Psalm 25:1-2 (KJB)

This is the 25th day of writing through the Psalms again.  I know that I missed yesterday, yet this is still the 25th day of Psalms. I appreciate all who take your valuable time to come here to read these studies, and I do pray that when you do God blesses you abundantly with His Spirit to enlighten your understanding of God, His Word, and His Spirit; and His work in you.

The Psalmist (David) is declaring the LORD as his God.  He also declares, “I trust in You.”  That ought always to be the heart of the believer who has given heart, soul, body, and mind to Him.

When we give our life to God through His Son Jesus Christ there is no room for shame, but praise, love, joy, peace, and a life filled with the love of God in us for others, and mostly for Him who loved us that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins.

Do we have enemies?  Most definitely.  Those who hate God, and work against His word, His will, and His way are His enemies; they are my enemies and if you love God; they are your enemies as well.  We have a promise from God that has been given to all God’s people down through the ages…

“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”  Isaiah 59:19

 

The Shout of Creation

“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” Psalm 19:2-6 (KJV)

The declaration of creation is that God is. There are those who look at the order of this ordered creation and somehow, though very illogically, proclaim that “It just happened”.  Really?

Would you say that your new car was formed when a tornado tragically went through a salvage yard, or even a steel mill, and suddenly that car landed there fully formed.  Now, that is just plain illogical; if not just plumb dumb.

Creation shouts of the glory of God.  The size of the universe is beyond my comprehension.  Yet we have scientists who are trying to figure out just how large it is.  All they have is a wild guess.  No matter how big the universe; God is bigger.  He created it.  He spoke the world, and the stars, the planets, and any other solar system which exist, into existence (Psalm 33:6).

The apostle Paul clearly proclaims…

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.  Romans 1:20

“They that are without excuse” are those who cannot hear the shout of creation telling loudly and clearly that God is.  The creation is even groaning waiting for the deliverance from corruption (Romans 8:21-22).  Do you not hear the groaning in the fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the evil of Adamkind in the world.

When you have one of our own political parties that are more concerned will illegal aliens in our nation, and definitely not concerned about the legal murder of 63,000,000 unborn babies; there is something desperately wrong, and evil in the minds and hearts of this world, and this country.

Can you hear the shout of creation?  Can you hear the shout of the gospel of Jesus Christ that a good, righteous, holy, just, and innocent gave His life for the evil, unrighteous, unholy, unjust, and guilty race of Adamkind?  He died, was buried, and He rose again.  He is returning again to receive His own unto Himself.  O, will you hear Him?

The Children of Men

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceases; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?”  Psalm 12:1-4 (KJV)

Before we get too far into this study we might want and need to know who the “Children of men” are.  They are those who have not been godly.  They are those whose hearts are in the world and all that they can hold.  They are those who would definitely need redemption if it is possible.

The saddest part of the above verses is that the “Faithful” have failed among the “Children of men”. We have failed to lift up holiness in the Lord.  We have failed to be godly in our lives.  We have failed to be witnesses of the saving power, and all the awesome power of Holy God.

The children of men speak vanity – useless, empty, evil, false things – which often cause strife and division.  They have no heart for God, nor the things of God.

We hear of the heart from the words of Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21), and He spoke again and said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:35).  By this we can see that it matters greatly about our hearts.

Flattering lips and a double heart are usually within the heart of the same individual male or female.  A double hearted person is probably lie the double minded individual of James 1:8; “unstable in all their ways”.

Pride in one’s own abilities, words, strength is a surefire way of falling away from doing what is godly, righteous and just.

The surefire way for us all to be good, godly, and righteous before Holy God is to come to Him the only way He has provided.  If we try another way we only exalt ourselves over the Most High God, and are saying to Him, “I am right.  You are wrong.”

He has provided only the way of the cross of Jesus His Son. Come by the cross, or you do not come at all.

 

When We Look Into the Distance

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto You will I pray. My voice shall You hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto You, and will look up.  Psalm 5:2-3 (KJV)

For a reading of Psalm 5:1 you may follow this link.
We so often call on God in prayer.  Even many who will publicly proclaim “I do not believe in God” will call out to God when some traumatic event happens.

In these two verses of Psalm 5, the Psalmist cries out, “Hearken unto the voice of my cry…”.  Which is a yearning for God to hear.  The sweet Psalmist of Israel calling out to the One He knew would hear, and answer his call, his cry.  The honor, respect, and devotion is seen in the prayer.  “My King, and my God” would only be the One whom he loved, trusted, and to whom he has committed his life.

The words of faith spoken in this prayer, “My voice shall You Hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto You, and will look up.”  By his faith in the Living God he is able to look into the distance, and from the events of his past know that GOD will hear him.  Not just today, but every time he prays.

Every time the Christian prays to the One who has made all things, and made us in His image, we can know that God does hear and answer our prayer. Knowing that we can look into the distance… into the future, and know that He will hear, and answer.

 

The Throne of God and of the Lamb

The blessings of being with God are wonderful, fantastic, and I do not know if any earthly word could describe it unless it would be AWESOME. His desire for us to know and understand the Revelation is clearly revealed to us, though the understanding may be difficult. Warnings and invitation to the unrepentant and warnings to those who might treat His prophecies with contempt are plentiful and quite clear in their description of the judgment which will follow for those with evil hearts and minds; and the declaration by Jesus of a quick coming sums up The Revelation of Jesus Christ. A marvelous word from God.

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 22:1-5 (KJV)

We will be gathered around the throne of God; the Holy, Righteous, Glorious, One.

Around the throne, we find the “Water of life”. It reminds us of the refreshing purity of God. There was a time when King David was in battle and he desired water from the well of Bethlehem. The water from that certain well was known for its fresh, clean, clear and cool refreshment. Three of David’s men broke through enemy lines and brought him a drink (1 Chronicles 11:15-19). Even the water from the freshest of wells here on earth could not begin to match the satisfaction of that “water of life” which flows from the throne of God. Out of the belly of those who love Jesus shall flow rivers of living water.

John sees the “Tree of Life”. Driven from the garden by the wrath of God wrapped in grace, Adam and Eve would never see the tree in the garden of Eden again. By God’s grace, they will see it again when we all stand before the face of God. Mankind has been kept from this tree for thousands of years (Genesis 3:22-24). Where the book of Genesis drives Adamkind from the garden, in the Revelation we find access to the tree once again for all who came by way of Jesus Christ. Access is granted again. The Tree of Life bears twelve different kinds of fruit each month. Its leaves provide healing for the nations. What kind of healing this is speaking of I do not know, unless it would be speaking of ethnic groups who will find peace and grace, and mercy at the feet of Jesus.

There was a curse put on Adamkind in the garden of Eden due to Adam’s and Eve’s sin of disobedience and eating the forbidden fruit. The curse was sin, death, and hell. It has been the inclination of mankind to rebel against God and curse Him. There is an emptiness in man that causes him to search for someone greater than himself, but always, apart from God’s searching for him, looking elsewhere other than the Creator. Making gods in their own likeness, like creatures, and other men. According to the Psalmist these gods have hands, but cannot work; feet but cannot walk; eyes but cannot see, and they that make them are like unto them (Psalm 115, and 135). The curse is eternally lifted at the glorification of Jesus Christ, and obedience will be the inclination of all who enter that city, that is called Holy. God and the Lamb are present, and where God and the Lamb are, sin cannot be. PRAISE HIM!!!!

We are gathered around the throne as His children glorifying Him for all eternity. What a blessing to be before His face (Coram Deo is Latin for “Before the face of God”). That should be the heart of the child of God until we see Him face to face. One of the greatest blessings will be that we will be marked by His name in our foreheads.

God is the Light of that city. Scripture does not say there is no sun or moon. My mind tells me that the glory of God and the Lamb will be so bright and majestic that the light of the sun and moon will only fade behind the scene.

O, do you know Jesus the Glorious One who died, was buried, and rose again?

 

True and Righteous are His Judgments

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.
And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:1-10 (KJV)

“After these things” is certainly speaking of the previous two chapters. The “great whore” was judged by God through the godless. The “great city” was judged by plagues from God.

Remembering the “great whore” represents false religion that basically accepts all beliefs as being legitimate, its fall and the rejoicing of the kings show us that we must stand for truth.

In these first five verses, we find Heaven rejoicing (Revelation 18:20). The “voice” of verses 1 and 5 cannot be the voice of God, according to some. But why not? God does command our worship of Him. There is a possibility that it is that of an angel.

These are rejoicing in the justice and judgment upon world evil and those who tortured and tormented the saints of God.

If you will, notice verse 3. The judgment upon the woman, both as religious, and political/economic Babylon is judged forever – eternally. This could not be speaking of a physical – material city, but of the wicked souls of men who ruled the city. See Isaiah 66:24. Their smoke of torment will rise up forever and ever.

Back around the throne of God again, we find the twenty-four elders and the four Living ones worshipping the One who sat on the throne.

Who else could these ‘elders’ be other than the Church – the redeemed by the cross of Jesus Christ? We see them in chapters 4; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16-18, and then once again in this passage. Every time we find the ‘twenty-four elders’ mentioned we see that they are in Heaven before the throne of God in worship of Him who sits on the throne.

We come now to what is called the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”. It is correctly called this in the fourth beatitude of the Revelation.

It matters not whose voice is heard in verse 6. It only matters that it is heavenly.

He is calling out invitation to the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ for the marriage has already taken place. The Hebrew wedding – to my understanding – has three major aspects:

  1. There is a marriage contract drawn up between the parents of the children, while the ones who become betrothed are still children;
  2. At a suitable age the bridegroom along with his friends would go to the brides home to take her to his home (Matthew 25:1-13);
  3. He would bring her to his home for the marriage supper, to which guests were invited.

The marriage supper of the Lamb precedes the “Day of the LORD”, earth’s blackest, bleakest and most horrible day, yet heaven’s day of rejoicing when evil will be removed from God’s presence.

The Lamb’s wife has made herself ready at the “Judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10) where all the “wood, hay and stubble” (1 Cor. 3:11-15) of every Christian life will be burned up and only the “gold, silver, and precious stones” will remain. Of course, preparation began when each individual is justified (made right with God) by faith (Eph. 2:8-10; 5:25-27).

The beatitude of verse 9 is also a great invitation to people of all ages. “Blessed (Happy) are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb”. Will you be at the marriage supper of the Lamb? By faith in Jesus Christ, becoming wed to Him by the covenant of grace through faith you will be. The marriage supper of the Lamb will be the time of consummation or glorification of the Bride [the saints, the Church].

“These are true sayings of God”. Can God say anything that is not true? Can God lie? Not hardly (Rom. 3:4). Truly the most blessed place to be is at the marriage supper of the Lamb. There is no earthly activity which can compare to the glory of this marriage supper.

The voice spoke of earlier certainly cannot be divine. John falls before the one speaking in worship only to be rebuked and corrected to worship God. All Scripture is centered in Jesus Christ. However, the whole intent of prophecy is to testify of Jesus. All the prophecies, before He came as man, are proof of who He is. Just as surely as the Old Testament prophecies testified of His first coming and were fulfilled, so too, will each unfulfilled Old and New Testament prophecy which testifies of His second coming be fulfilled. The prophecies of Jesus are the means of identifying Him.

Jesus is the one all who reject Him will face one day.  It will not be a pleasant day for those rejecters of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus – His payment for our sin.  Believe Him today.

The Abomination in the Earth

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. Revelation 17:1-6 (KJV)

Bill Dudley, a Missouri Baptist Pastor, and Evangelist has written some notes on the Revelation. I am going to quote him here.

“In his book THE TWO BABYLONS, Alexander Hislop traces the development of Mystery Babylon through the centuries to the present time.
NIMROD was the founder of Babel (Gen. 10-11), and the kingdom of Babylon. His wife’s name was SEMIRAMIS. In Gen. 3:15 God had promised to deliver the race through the “seed of the woman”. Because of this promise, when NIMROD’S wife, SEMIRAMIS, gave birth to a son, she said he was miraculouly conceived by a sunbeam and she preseented him as the promised deliverer of the earth.

Continuing Dudley’s words… “The son’s name was TAMMUZ. When TAMMUZ was grown, so the story goes, a wild boar slew him; but after forty days of his mother’s weeping, he was raised from the dead. This ancient story of SEMIRAMIS and her son, TAMMUZ is the origin of the cult of mother/child worship that has spread throughout the whole world.

In ASSYRIA and NINEVEH she is called ISHTAR and her son was still known as TAMMUZ.

In PHOENICIA she was called ASTARTE or ASHTEROTH, and her son, still TAMMUZ.

In EGYPT she was called IRIS and her son is OSIRIS or HORUS.

In GREECE she was called APHRODITE, and her son was called EROS.

Among the ROMANS she was called VENUS, and her son was called CUPID.

As this mother/child worship spread through the earth, she was worshiped by the offering of a wafer (a little cake) to her as the queen of heaven. The worship always included forty days of Lent, of weeping over the destruction of TAMMUZ, before the feast of ISHTAR, at which time his resurrection was celebrated. The sign of TAMMUZ was an ISHTAR egg, a symbol of his restoration to life.

The Old Testament prophets rebuked the mother and child cult. In JEREMIAH 44:19-30 he rebukes the people for worshiping the queen of heaven and in EZEKIEL 8:5-18 the prophet sees the people, v. 14, observing the forty days of Lent during which they afflict themselves and weep for TAMMUZ, the child that was slain by the wild boar.

This ancient worship of the mother and child passed down from BABYLON to ASSYRIA, to PHOENICIA, to PERGAMOS, and finally, to ROME.
In ROME the Emperor was PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, the high priest of all the idolatrous systems of the Roman Empire. When there were no more Roman Emperors the title of high priest of the rites and mysteries of the cult of mother and child, the Babylonian mystery religion, was assumed by the BISHOP OF ROME.” pp. 55 & 56 of Bill Dudley’s notes.

In these verses, we have a description of religious Babylon.

In the book of the Revelation there are four women of four different visions who have a relationship with religion:

  1. In the letter to the church in Thyatira “Jezebel” was a false prophetess corrupting the church in the city of Thyatira (2:20);
  2. In 12:1-6 the mother of the man-child was the nation of Israel, the people of the Old Covenant;
  3. In our present chapter, Babylon is seen as a religious system centered in man rather than God – a woman riding the beast, and the beast being the government of man;
  4. And, in 21:9, the Bride of Christ represents the saints of the Church joined to Christ who redeemed them.

This false religious system is seen sitting “upon many waters”. NOTE: In most other cases water, in the Revelation, is to be taken literally, but here, the text itself gives it a symbolic meaning by its interpretation of verse 15.

This shows how false religion has covered the earth and influenced and condemned many to destruction.

Verse 2 has this “harlot” in an act of spiritual adultery. God has accused, and rightly so, Israel of being a harlot (Hosea). Spiritual adultery is the pretense of worshipping the one true God in ceremony, while at the same time honoring other gods in heart.  Other gods can be our own wishes and desires and over The one true God’s word, will, and way.

In this case, the “whore” has power in government. She has sold out every spiritual principle for political power (1 Kings 21:20). Our verses here describe her as riding a “scarlet colored beast”. This beast represents government, and by its color, an evil government – scarlet represents the devil.
This “great whore” is seen as full of wealth (v. 5). She is also seen as a “mystery”. A mystery only those to whom God gives the interpretation can understand. It is godly wisdom that causes understanding. She is proud to even call herself, “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATION IN THE EARTH” – Religious Babylon (Babel). There has always been an attempt to join all religions. The apostate religions of earth want the Church to join with them, to lay aside the truth of sin, Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, the second coming and be in unity with them. The apostate church accepts all beliefs.

In the minds of many who profess the label of Christianity, it is completely acceptable to join with those who defame, defraud, and blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ, and in the name of unity, peace, and humanity.  It is not.  There is solely one way of salvation, and that is through God’s grace displayed on Calvary’s cross, His burial, and resurrection.

The “Inhabitants of the earth” of verse 2, remember, are those whose hearts and minds are tied to the earth, material things, and not to God and godly things.  These want to live for themselves, and God has no part of life.

This “MOTHER OF HARLOTS” is guilty of shedding the blood of God’s saints. John is astonished. He knows about persecution, but it has come from the government. However, what he saw was the apostate church – professing to know Christ – in the end time, drunk on the blood of the saints of God.  Religion without faith in Christ is dead and will lead to eternal death.

The Alternative of the Rapture

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:11-18 (KJV)

The first beast (v. 1) is said to come “out of the sea”, cast out from heaven (chapter 12), and from the mass of humanity. “Sand of the sea” is often a reference to a great mass of humanity. This second beast is come “out of the earth”. This seems to imply that this one is simply a man, not possessed by Satan; because two men could not be possessed by Satan himself at the same time. Satan is not omnipresent. The “horns like a lamb” show that he is a man of religion. He will be the leader of the world religion leading people in the worship of the first beast. This one is truly a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, for he speaks “as a dragon”.

He is given power as the first beast and deceives the people into worshiping the dragon. He deceives “with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9), with such intensity that, “if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). We may even now be asking, “Why would God allow such things? The answer which is plausible is only to say, “To bring an end to sin”.

People always want to see the miraculous, but miracles, or at least what appears to be miracles, can only lead to deception, when not tested by faith in Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. The miracles of God point to Him. Some of what seems to be miracles today often point to something or someone other than God.

Some in Jesus’s day asked Him for a sign, and He told them no sign would be given, except the sign of the prophet of Jonah (Matthew 12:39-41), and they did not get it. The Word of God is sufficient enough for those who believe God. The sign of the prophet Jonah, was he came alive out of the belly of the fish, and Jesus was raised alive out of the belly of the earth. The resurrected Jesus is all the proof God needs to generate faith in His children (Romans 1:3-4).

Verse 14 says that every one should make an “Image to the beast” (probably similar to the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s of Daniel 3; of course, maybe a lot smaller). It almost sounds as though every home would have an image of the beast. It would only be speculation, but this could be some electronic device to keep track of his followers. It wold be a way of determining those who worshiped the image and put to death those who did not give him laud. Of course those who are God’s would not have the image in the first place.

These worshipers of the beast are identified by a mark, another counterfeit of God’s work. Here Satan, the dragon, counterfeits the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God seals those who are God’s to the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). The mark “in the right hand, or in their foreheads” would seal these people to eternal destruction. The Church today needs to hear this message and take the gospel of Jesus Christ out to the perishing, because what awaits the lost is doom. These with the “Mark of the beast” would be able to buy, sell, and trade. They would be able to obtain the things of earth, but be kept from the eternal blessings of God. “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The number of man is six (6). It falls short of God’s perfection, “short of the glory of God”.

When man tries to obtain the glory that belongs solely to the Lord he will always come up short. So will the devil.

No one knows what this number means. There are numerical equations which figure into names. For example each Hebrew letter is also a Hebrew number. Since I do not know these things I can only share what I have read and studied. There has been a whole lot of numerical accusation and fraud, and I will not indulge in the hysterics, neither do I want to lead into conspiracies or suppositions.

As discerning Christians we can see an antichrist spirit; but let us be certain, first, that we have the Spirit of God concerning the matter. One thing we can be sure of, is that, the attempt by Satan through man will come up short. Sin will be eternally put away and Jesus Christ will reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords. Satan’s final attempt and fall is certain because of who Jesus is.

If you are outside the righteous/holy character of God, then you need to know Jesus Christ the Son of God who is God the Son who died on the cross for our sins, so that, we might have fellowship eternally with Him.  Trust the God/Man who died for you

A Great Wonder in Heaven

“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her Child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her Child was caught up unto God, and to His throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”  Revelation 12:1-6 (KJV)

Jesus is the embodiment of God’s glory, born by Israel through Mary; the virgin at the time of His conception and birth; for the deliverance of sin, and to bring Israel through great tribulation to fulfill the promises of God, made to Abraham, David, Jesus, and all who believe, with much tribulation.

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 12:1-2 (KJV).

John sees a “Great wonder in heaven”. This is the first of seven persons…

“1) The woman, representing Israel, 2) the dragon, representing Satan, 3) the man-child, referring to Christ, 4) Michael, representing the angels, 5) Israel, the remnant of the seed of the woman, 6) the beast out of the sea, the world dictator, and 7) the beast out of the earth, the false prophet and religious leader of the world”. JOHN WALVOORD.

Beginning with chapter 12 through chapter 14 we have a parenthetical section which fills in some gaps during the trumpet and vial judgments.

The first of the seven characters is a “Great wonder”. Who is this woman? Is she the Church? Israel? Mary? When looking at her from scriptural understanding she is Israel (Romans 9:5). The nation, historically, gave birth to Jesus by Mary.

This woman being “Clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” can be identified with Genesis 37:9. The “sun” is Jaco, the “moon” Jacob’s wife, and the “eleven stars” Jacob’s eleven sons and Joseph making the twelfth.

Verse 2 seems to imply Israel’s trials and tribulations rather than Mary’s.

The second character in this scene is the “Red dragon”. He is evidently revealed to us as God sees him. Bloodthirsty and wicked. His “seven heads and ten horns, and crowns…” seem to identify him with earthly kingdoms – especially Rome. He is clearly representing the revived Roman empire and Satanic power.

Jonathan Edwards commenting on Hebrews 1:6-8 wrote, writing of Jesus’s birth…

“At that time when the Son of God appeared a poor little infant in a stable and manger then God said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’ and then the angels had a great trial of their obedience greater than ever they had before.”

John Gerstner commenting on Edwards writes…

“…According to Edwards the fall of the angels occurred when announcement was made that they were to be ministering servants to men’s salvation.”  From THE RATIONAL BIBLICAL THEOLOGY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS vol. 1, pg. 256

So we might assume that before the foundation of the world, before time, before history ever began, when Lucifer found out he was going to be a “Ministering servant” to mankind, he rebelled and took one-third of the angels with him. Some were confined to chains and some are loose.

Satan, the devil, hated that he was going to have to worship a baby human being, so instead of yielding allegiance to his Creator, he determined to do things his way. He set out to destroy this baby. He tried to tempt Him away from His destiny. Then, he tried to defeat Him in death. Lucifer, the devil has certainly tried to “Devour her child”. The child is the Messiah, the Savior of Israel. He is Jesus, my Savior, and Lord.

Verse 5 certainly makes clear who the man-child is. He is “To rule all nations” (Psalm 2:8). He will rule them with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15).

If we look at this verse simply as read it would seem, that the child is born and is immediately “Caught up unto God and to His throne”, however, we must understand the way biblical prophecy works. In many Old Testament prophecies, there are gaps. Take for instance Luke 4:18-19 which is a quotation from Isaiah 61:1-2. Note, however, that Jesus only quoted through “…the acceptable year of the LORD”. The fulfillment of the rest is yet to come. The same is true of verse 5 of Revelation 12. “She brought forth a man-child who was to rule…”, but in the gap He was crucified, for the sins of men, was buried, rose again, then forty days later “was caught up unto God…”. The day is yet to come for Him to rule on earth.

The gap between the resurrection of Christ “Pentecost” and the “Rapture of the Church” is the Church age. The gap between the “Rapture” and the “Abomination of desolation” is a period of false peace. The time between the “abomination” and the rule of Christ on earth is the “Great tribulation”, or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). “The time of Jacob’s trouble” is the final 3.5 years of “the tribulation” and that is when Israel will be divinely protected by God, according to verse 6. Evidently for the whole 1260 days of sorrow. This will work in them to bring out a remnant who trust Jesus as Messiah.

Will you trust in Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son for your eternal redemption?  Hear His voice, call on His name, and believe and be saved.  The greatest wonder of Heaven, and on earth is the Lord Jesus Himself.

Mystery of the Seven Thunders

“:And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: and he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.”  Revelation 10:1-4 (KJV)

Jesus is unveiled as the ruler of the sea and the earth, by a heavenly messenger, and His Word is the source of the message of assurance, forgiveness, and judgment. We must always remember the words of promise which we love are fulfilled, just as are the words of judgment fulfilled which we tend to dismiss or never mention.

In this tenth chapter we have another “Rest spot” (between chapters 7 and 14),between the sixth and seventh judgment. The seven seals are divided the first four from the final three and the last three seals divided two and one with an interlude between six and seven. The same is true of the seven trumpets. The first four are judgments upon the things of earth, sea, man, and the celestial creation. The next three are “Woes” pronounced upon wicked men with the first two woes in chapter nine, the interlude between 9:21 and 11:14. The seven vials mentioned later are divided the same with the shortest interlude being between the sixth and seventh vial. They will be discussed later in the study of the Revelation.

This, “Another mighty angel” has been described by some scholars and others as the Lamb of God – Jesus Christ. Since when does scripture call Jesus “Another…”. The thought of this being Jesus just does not fit. Those who equate this to Jesus look at the “Little book” and the slight description given of the angel and compare it to the book mentioned in chapter 5 which has the seven seals. The description does not fit chapter 1:13-16 description of Christ.

We must take Scripture for what it says here – “Another mighty angel…”. This is an angelic being of great rank. He is an angel of brilliant splendor possibly even surpassing the beauty of Lucifer’s original beauty. SEE Ezekiel 28:12.

The “Little book” in his hand is a book of great importance. It is with this book in his hand he sets his right foot upon the sea and his left upon the earth. This seems to imply ownership of all the earth. Remember the seventh trumpet is going to sound, and God is here declaring, that, although He is about to turn the earth over to Satan’s evil rule he (Satan) will still only be allowed to a certain distance and no further.

This angel shouted for some reason and sounded as a lion roaring. It appears to actually be a shout of victory; an assurance to the prophet and the reader that God is victorious.
“Seven Thunders” could be connected with the “lightnings and thunderings and voices” mentioned in 4:5.

Whatever these seven thunders spoke we have no clue. John understood what they said, and was about to write them down when he was commanded to “Seal them up and write them not”. There is a mystery here. A mystery which only the apostle John heard, and quite possibly so awesome that it could be beyond our understanding. But woe to those who are on earth when their voices are heard.

Trying to figure out this mystery of the seven thunders is nigh on to impossible since John was commanded to seal them up.  It is one of those cases where only God knows.  Let us leave it at that; knowing that He has given us His Son Jesus as the Redeemer of our sins.  Let us hear what God says concerning His Son, then we can know for sure of His love, mercy, and grace, and know that we have eternal life.

The Great Multitude of All Nations

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Revelation 7:9-17

It seems that the ministry of the 144,000 is quite effective.

Matthew 24:14 says this gospel must be preached to all nations before the end comes. There seems to be a distinction between the gospel of grace and the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of grace has to do with the death, burial, resurrection, ascension and second coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel of the kingdom has to do with Jesus coming [His second coming] to set up the earthly kingdom of David.

These mentioned in verses 9 and 10 are converts of the witnesses, and who give their lives for the faith. These are some of the same ones mentioned in 6:9-11. They are “the great multitude” too numerous to even count. They stand “before the throne” and “before the Lamb”. The “white robes” show they are clothed in righteousness, and the “palms in their hands” symbolize their victory. Notice, they worship before the throne.

If we keep in mind that chapter seven is not in chronological order we can see a complete ascription of praise around the throne. As a matter of fact, this scene could be placed at the end of the book when the redeemed of all the ages are gathered around the throne worshiping God and the Lamb.

We have “all the angels” and, the “twenty-four elders” – representing the believers of the Old Testament and the Church. We also see, once again the “Living ones”, and the martyrs of the faith during the tribulation. They ascribe to God perfect praise. There is a sevenfold ascription of praise as in chapter 5.

One of the “elders” asks John, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes?” John’s answer is one of wisdom, “Sir, you know”.

The elder then tells us clearly who these are that are mentioned in verse 9. They “came out of great tribulation”. The Church down through the centuries has endured tribulation, but not like that which is called “great tribulation”. And the Church will not experience it. It would serve absolutely no purpose.

Notice, that it is also very clear how these became redeemed people. “And made them white in the blood of the Lamb”. It is still by the blood of the Lamb – the Lord Jesus Christ – that folks are saved in the “great tribulation” not by “works of righteousness”.

There is eternal bliss for those who die a martyr’s death for faith in Jesus Christ.
1. Serving Him continually;
2. He shall dwell among them;
3. No more hunger;
4. No more thirst;
5. No more suffering from the elements;
6. He shall feed them – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”;
7. He shall lead them to “Living fountains of waters”;
8. He shall wipe away all tears.

It is very clear how one is to enjoy this eternal bliss”. By placing faith in the blood-atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of all mankind.

Jesus is our Providence, and the Providence of all ages and people.

No One Found Worthy

“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” Revelation 5:1-4 (KJV)

In this chapter, we will be reminded of God’s warnings of coming judgment, that the wars, famines, diseases, death, cataclysmic upheavals of earth, and such that happen now are only small in comparison to what will happen when the Lion/Lamb takes the Book and looses the seals. Havoc, such as no one has ever seen will plague the earth, and it is done by the “…One to whom judgment belongs”.

As we continue this chapter, John is still in Heaven. The twenty four elders and the four living ones are gathered around the throne.

Chapter five is a continuation of chapter four. Whereas, the focus of chapter four was upon the One who was on the throne [God the Father], the focus shifts to the Lamb.
There is a book in the Father’s right hand – the side on which Jesus sits. This book is sealed. It has been sealed from the foundation of the world. It is the declaration of ownership – the “title-deed” to all the earth, and creation. It is the revelation of a Christ-denying, God-hating world that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is the “title-deed” to all that God promised Jesu before He went to the cross.
It appears in verse two that it had to be a man who would be worthy of opening the book, “and loose the seals”, but none was found. The “Loud voice” of the “Strong angel” (a prominent angel) – probably Gabriel – implies urgency, an immediate need. This reminds me of the message to Ezekiel, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV).

What would happen if no one was found to open the book? This is why John wept:
1. All Old Testament prophecies of the Christ earthly reign would be voided;
2. Creation would remain under the curse of the fall;
3. The kingdom would never be restored to Israel;
4. The Bible would not be true.

No mere man is worthy to open the book the Father holds in His right hand. We are sinners, unrighteous and unholy before a righteous and holy God. Notice, that none were found who were even able “to look thereon” (v. 3).
In these verses, we also see that there is no man worthy to carry out the judgment of the following chapters. God has said throughout all of Scripture, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the LORD” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Nahum 1:2; Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30). No judgment that is done for holiness or righteousness sake, can be done by sinful man. It belongs solely to Holy God. “O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.” Psalms 94:1 (KJV).

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.  Revelation 5:5-7

John’s weeping invokes one of the elders to say, “Weep not”. There is One who is worthy. The appointed One, the Anointed One. “The Lion of the tribe of Judah” – “Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” Gen 49:9-10 (KJV). The lion; a symbol of royalty, of power and supremacy, “Hath prevailed to open the book”. “The root of David”, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” Isaiah 11:1 (KJV). As Deity, He is the Root from which David came. As man, David is the root of His [Jesus’s] human genealogy, “Hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”

The “Seven seals” begin to open in chapter six; the last seal is opened in 8:1 with the beginning of the “Seven trumpets”.

Because of His position as God-man, He has authority and power to open the book. He is worthy because:
1. He is a near kinsman – He is the “Nearer Kinsman” – the God-Man;
2. He was a willing sacrifice for sin – willing to pay the price for our redemption (John 10:18);
3. He was able to pay the price.

When John turned to see the “Lion of the tribe of Judah”, instead he saw a Lamb. Where was the Lamb: He was in “The midst of the throne and of the four beasts and in the midst of the elders”. This is the position our Lord desires.

The Lord Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb” at least twenty-eight times in the Revelation. “Lamb” identifies Him as the sacrifice [God’s chosen sacrifice] for man’s sin. In verse six of our text He is mentioned as being resurrected from death; “…a Lamb as it had been slain”. This Lamb “Stood”. Dead lambs do not stand. “Had been slain” is in the past tense showing a dead lamb now living. There can be no doubt about who this is. It is Jesus the crucified, pierced, and resurrected One.

The “Seven horns” represent His perfect power. The “Seven eyes” His perfect sight to see all the affairs, thoughts and deeds of man. The “Seven Spirits” His perfect presence (John 16:7). These are all in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lamb. Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence are the theological terms used for the figures.

When the Lamb takes the book it will be the beginning of the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of 7:13-14 and Psalm 2:8 as well as others. See Matthew 11:27 and 28:18. It is given to the Lamb of God to loose the seals of judgment upon the God-rejecting, God-hating world.

Fear None of Those Things…

“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:8-11 (KJV)

Facing sorrows through trials of our faith we find assurance, in this letter to the church in Smyrna, of the eternalness of Jesus, and His promise of eternal riches to those who are overcomers. The “Crown of Life” is promised to those who are “Faithful unto death”.

The church at Smyrna was a suffering church. They had nothing of the world’s goods or praise. They did have the praise of Jesus. That means more than anything.

Polycarp was the bishop of the church and he was put to death for his faith. In John Walvoord’s THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST he writes, speaking of Polycarp, “When asked by his heathen judges to recant his Christian faith, he replied, ‘Four score and six years have I served the Lord, and He never wronged me: How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior?”. Polycarp seems to characterize the whole church at Smyrna.

The city of Smyrna is still in existence today, known as Izmir, unlike Ephesus which is in ruins. When Christians are willing to stand no matter what, it has redeeming qualities for all of society. There is also a Christian church in the city. How? By overcoming.

The church of Smyrna needed to hear from the One who is the “First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive”. Smyrna is located approximately 35 – 50 miles north of Ephesus. Like Ephesus, it too is a port city. The two cities probably struggled over which was the chief city of the region.

The word ‘Smyrna’ means “Myrrh”. Myrrh was used for embalming the dead. It was also used in Tabernacle worship, and as a perfume. The significance of this is the way in which Jesus identifies Himself to the church at Smyrna. “I Am the eternal One, which became dead, and I Am alive forevermore”.  Myrrh was used in the burial of Christ.

These are certainly encouraging words. Our Savior who was humiliated and put to open shame upon the cross, and put to death is encouraging the church to stay on course because they too will live eternally. They too may die; you may someday get to die for your faith in Jesus, but that is not the end. You have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

His “I know” of verse 9 is somewhat different from His “I know” for the church of Ephesus.

The church is suffering fiery persecution. “Poor” means they were poor in this world’s material things. This partially due to them, as followers of Jesus, having no rights to worship. Their lands and houses could be taken freely because they had no legal protection, no constitutional protections as we have.

Their persecution came by means of the unregenerate people of Smyrna. Both the Gentiles and Jews persecuted the Christians.

“…Jews, and are not” implies a racial identity without a Christ-like identity. In Pauls letter to the Romans he wrote, “…He is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:29). If these “Jews” had been anywhere near obedience to their faith they would have remembered God’s law which says, “…the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:34). Therefore, Jesus says that they “…Are the synagogue of Satan” – lost, no relationship with God, condemned, and needing salvation.

They [the persecuted Christians] are known by those who persecute them as being “Poor”. They are known by Jesus as being “Rich”. How are you known by people? More importantly, how are you known by Jesus? It is much better to be poor to the world and rich with Christ, than to be rich to the world and poor with Jesus.

Jesus is so very gracious. He speaks quite often in the gospels, “Fear not”, or “Be not afraid”. Here in verse 10, He speaks the words again. “Fear none of those things…”.

“If they come and take away your houses or land, do not be afraid. If they come to take you away for torture, pain, and death, do not fear. If they come to take your family, do not be afraid. If they come to ridicule you, do not fear. If they bring false charges against you, do not fear. If they come to take your life, do not be afraid. It is not over. Your life is still in My hands”, Jesus says.

Tribulation and suffering should not be strange for the follower of Jesus. He told us, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33).
Trials and testings come into every believer’s life. Sometimes we suffer because of our faith in Jesus. Sometimes it is because of sin left unconfessed and an unrepentant heart or paying the consequences of sin forgiven. Sometimes it is to keep us from something for our own benefit and His glory.

“Tribulation ten days” is probably a reference to a short period of time. All the troubles we encounter as Christians are of only short duration compared to eternity. Many Christians suffer bad health for years, not because of sin, but for their good, and the glory of Jesus. It is only a short time compared to the glory and splendor of God’s eternal home.

The “Ten days” have also been compared to a period of time from Nero in 64-68 AD., through Diocletian of 303-313 AD. Nero 64-68 AD., Domitian95-96 AD., Trajan 104-117 AD., Marcus Aurelius 161-180 AD. (According to some this is when Polycarp was martyred), Severus 200-211 AD., Maximinius 235-237 AD., Decius 250-253 AD., Valerian 257-260 AD., Aurelian 270-275 AD., and Diocletian 303-313 AD. This would have represented the ten days as being periods of persecution under these leaders.

How faithful would you be to public worship and faith in Jesus Christ if our government suddenly declared worshiping God in Jesus to be illegal? Would you be in Bible study and worship next Sunday? The worship of the church of Smyrna was illegal, yet they worshiped and lived their faith. They suffered. Jesus words were, “Be faithful unto death”. “Don’t be afraid, be faithful”. Even if it means your life, be faithful. Jesus was. He gave His life as not only an act of love for you and me, but also an act of faithfulness to the Father. The reward? He will give a “Crown of life”; “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12). This crown is often equated with being the “Martyrs crown”, but probably received by all who are faithful in life without fear for their lives.

Finally, Jesus says to the church of Smyrna, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches…” (v. 11). Those who are followers of Jesus Christ will hear His voice.
The Spirit gives understanding. He is our ears to the words of the Lord Jesus. The message is now to the individual – “Hear”.

“The second death” is total and eternal separation from God. The word ‘death’, in essence, means separation. Physical death is the separation of the body from life. Spiritual death is the condition all people are born into, separated from God. The “Second death” being different, is only so in that it is eternal separation from God. There is an eternal place where the eternal wrath of God is suffered.

All who overcome are “Born of God”. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4). All who are “Born of God” [born again] overcome. The “second death” has no hurt to the born again (Revelation 20:6). The second death is reserved for those not found in the book of life (20:14), ‘the fearful and unbelieving…the abominable, …shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (21:8).

The only way to miss the “Second death” is to be born twice. The second time through faith in Jesus Christ. Someone once said, “If you were born once, you will die twice. If you were born twice, you will die once.”

Troubles inevitably will come, at least while we live on earth. Some people will ridicule our faith and faithful practices. Sickness comes occasionally or regularly for some. Nevertheless, we are called on to be faithful.

If we keep in mind the humiliation of Jesus and His suffering, even though He was sinless, and the glory that is His after His resurrection, we can overcome every trouble and trial of suffering that comes our way. No material possession can keep us from the “Second death” only Jesus can. After all, He is THE RESURRECTED ONE, and has all authority to say “Fear none of those things”.

Through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”  1 John 1:1-4 (KJV)

“…From the beginning…” is certainly a reference to the eternality of the Christ.  If He is eternal then He is Deity – He is God – and worthy of worship.

“We”, John says, “have heard and seen the eternal One.”  How could it be possible for the finite to behold the infinite; for the sinner to hear and hold the sinless?  How can flesh hear, see, and hold the Spirit?  There is only one way.  That is for the Spirit to become flesh.  God became flesh (John 1:1, 14).  God is Spirit (John 4:24).  “…The Word was made flesh…” – the very character of God became man.  God revealed Himself to us.  if we have seen Jesus we have seen the Father (John 14:9).

Jesus then, is the revelation of God to man.  He is God manifested to us.  What God did in His Son Jesus was not secretive, but was done openly for the world to see.  His birth was proclaimed by angels to shepherds; was revealed by a “star” leading the “Magi” to follow where the Child would be found.  The works Jesus did loudly proclaim He is who He claimed to be.  His death was no secret.  The Roman government was deeply involved.  One Roman soldier proclaimed while watching Him die, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).  It must have been in the way He died.  There was no spite, but forgiveness in Him as He hung there on that cross.  He showed care for those around Him; He assured a thief of his place in paradise; He made sure His mother would be cared for.  Only the loving God incarnate could keep His mind and do these glorious things while so near to death.

Is it important to truly believe these things about Jesus?  YES! We know Him by believing these things and we believe Him because we know these things, because He has been revealed to us.

There is no fellowship with the holy, righteous, just God and Father except through Jesus His Son.  The only way brothers and sisters in Christ can fellowship is through our fellowship with Jesus and the Father.

In order to bring others into the fellowship, we must declare what we have seen and heard.  We must declare our own personal experience of faith in Christ.

The joy of a Christian is far beyond happiness the world often endorses.  Happiness is fleeting.  It can be here today and gone tomorrow.  Our joy is based on our fellowship with God, and circumstances cannot control it.  There is no possible way for one to have Joy apart from faith in God through His Son Jesus Christ, and fellowship with Him.

 

The Foundation of God

Building on anything other than God’s foundation will lead to disaster; the fall of the building, and the fall of a life as well (Matthew 7:21-27).  The Church, neither the individual Christian life can survive without being founded and set sure upon the foundation of God.  Hear the apostle Paul…

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:15-19 (KJV)

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God…” is the reading of the NKJV in the first part of 2 Timothy 2:15.  Study is one of the first ways of being diligent to show yourself approved unto God.  Without knowledge of God’s Word you cannot stand and defend the word of God against error.  We must certainly continue in preaching, and teaching the Scriptures, lifting up Christ and His cross.

Paul uses a couple of men who must have been notorious for their twisting of Scripture, leading to ungodliness.  It has been said, “It does make a difference what you believe”.  What you believe will affect the way you live.  Either to godliness or unto ungodliness.  The apostle says that the teachings of Hymenaeus and Philetus were like a canker/cancer.  Cancer works unseen, and kills and destroys whatever it touches.  So too does profane and vain babblings which are teachings of ungodliness.  These men were even “…saying that the resurrection is past already” meaning the resurrection of the living and the dead; a possible reference of the rapture of the Church being already past.

The foundation of God is where the child of God, and the preacher of God will stand.  God’s foundation is unmoveable, unstoppable, and unchanging.  When all other foundations are shaking and trembling, God’s foundation stands true and strong.  It begins by placing your faith in God’s gift of life through His Son Jesus Christ; the One who gave His life on the cross, was buried, and was raised to life and forever lives with the Father in glory.

Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Our Fruit; Our Judgment

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  Galations 5:19-23 (KJV)

Today I will have no commentary.  I am just going to let the Scriptures speak the words of Jesus…

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:16-20

Parables and Understanding

And with many such parables spake He the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake He not unto them: and when they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples. Mark 4:33-34 (KJV)

It has been said, speaking of the parables of Jesus, that, “A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning”.  I can see that.  It is clear as we read the parables of Jesus that there can be many possible explanations, but Jesus’s understanding is the proper understanding.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary for these verses…

4:33, 34 Verses 33 and 34 introduce us to an important principle in teaching. Jesus taught the people as they were able to hear it. He built upon their previous knowledge, permitting time for them to assimilate one lesson before giving them the next. Conscious of His hearers’ capacity, He did not glut them with more instruction than they could absorb (see also John 16:12; 1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12). The method of some preachers might make us think Christ had said, “Feed my giraffes” instead of “Feed my sheep”!
Although His general teaching was in parables, He explained them to His disciples in private. He gives light to those who sincerely desire it. BELIEVER’S BIBLE COMMENTARY

Paul the apostle wrote…

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14-15

That is part of what Jesus meant when He said in Mark 4:9…

He that has ears to hear, let him hear. (KJV)

When we hear Jesus concerning who He is as our Lord and Savior, our God and Creator we will understand what He teaches.

The LORD is Good

What do you think of when a roaring, howling, powerful storm comes; with flashes, and bolts of lightening, and sounds of crashing, rolling thunder?  It is a fearful thing when we see these things.  Many people have just recently survived such storms, suffering great loss, and we pray for you, and offer condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

I am a strange sort of man I guess; but storms fascinate me.  Lightening is a wonder to behold.  I have been on the edge of a tornado in my car, and kept driving, even though I could not see much past the hood of the car.  It is a fearful thing.  More fearful is to be on the wrong side of God.  Hear the words of Nahum the prophet to the Assyrians, their capital city Nineveh…

“God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies.”  Nahum 1:2-8 (KJV)

It could be said that Nahum’s prophecy is  a continuation of Jonah’s.  When Jonah went to Nineveh and preached of God’s judgment, the people, the whole city repented; yet that repentance was only one generation, and then God sent Nahum to warn them.

Does God, the LORD judge evil?  That is a question that many people ask; even today.  The answer to that is “Yes!”  God does judge evil.  It just is not always according to our allotted time.  Why can a wicked person live for years without illness, or grief, and seemingly be blessed with the world’s riches, and pleasures and never experience God’s justice?  He/She does, or she/he will.

The LORD is Good.  Let us consider this.  It could be that God in His goodness and grace is allowing that individual time to repent and change their way, coming to God through Christ Jesus.

The LORD is mighty, He is Almighty, He holds the storms of this life in His hand.  He knows the beginning and He knows the end.  This life is not about me, or you, or all those who are suffering from sickness, disease, pain, sorrow; from storms or shooters.  This life is about GOD, and His power and glory to Him. He has made a way for sinful humanity to come into His holy presence; and that is through the cross of Jesus Christ who suffered the most horrendous thing any man could ever bear.  Not only did He suffer the physical pain and agony of the cross, but He the holy Son of God was denied the face of His Father as He bled and died for us.  He in fact experienced Hell for us there.

The LORD is Good.

Better than Beasts

God reveals the kingdoms of men as beasts of the earth.  Beasts like a “Lion with eagle’s wings” (7:4),  “a bear… with ribs in its mouth” (7:5), “a leopard, which had four wings on its back…” (7:6); then, a fourth beast “dreadful and terrible”.  These beasts represent human governments which the LORD was showing Daniel would come on the earth.  None of these beasts are pleasant characters.  Yet, human government is a God given institution.

These governments of men, are all a precursor of God’s greater rule and kingdom, which is yet to be fulfilled.  Hear these words from Daniel which God gave him in the same vision…

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 (KJV)

The kingdoms of men (Human government) of any kind is not sufficient to bring peace, protection, health, or wealth to the world.  The governments of men will fail and eventually fall.  Yes!  Even the United States of America will fall.  Not a pleasant thought to this citizen of the U. S. of A. for over 60 years; but for us not to realize this is futile, and mere dreaming.  There is only one nation which God has promised will be forever (Jeremiah 31:35-37), and that is the nation of Israel with the heir of David as King.

That may just be the reason so many nations, and people hate the Jewish people.  That hatred is futile too.  It will lead to your ruin.  That King is King Jesus.  He is the Son of Man, Son of God, and God the Son.  He is the one who the Scripture is speaking of above.  He is the Christ the Son of the Living God.  One day every knee will bow before Him.  It is best to do it today rather than later.  It is your salvation if you do it today.  To wait for that day will be your eternal condemnation.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

When you come to Jesus Christ and trust Him as your Lord and Savior the governments of men or the Beasts of men pale in comparison; you then will realize and know that one day every nation and king on earth, will bow before King Jesus, and call Him Lord.

Every Word of God

“Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”  Proverbs 30:5-6 (KJV)

First of all look at the phrase  “Every word of God”.  Not just one, not just a few; not even, “Just the important ones” or “The Ones in red”; but every word of God.  “Is pure” and there is no other greater word than the word of God.  It is holy.  It “given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  It is good for doctrine, reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.  If that is not pure, then nothing is.

The One who gives us His word is “A shield” to all who put their trust in Him.  Trust means our whole confidence.  We trust Him in life when everything around us is collapsing.  When our health is failing we trust God to know what lies ahead, and we keep believing He knows best for us; and we keep plugging along.  When the storm we are going through does not see, like it will ever subside, and the waves seem to grow in intensity, we keep believing, trusting.

In those times we do not add to His words for comfort.  We do not believe things such as “God helps those who help themselves”.  Contrary to what many so called Bible believing people think, that is not Biblical.  It is not mentioned one single time.  It teaches us the opposite.  “God helps those who cannot help themselves” and that is really all of us.

In order be be made well you need to be sick.  In order to be saved you need to be lost.  Jesus said,,,

They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mark 2:17

Do not twist God’s word to suit your ideas.  Fit what God says in your life by believing what He says, and leave it that way; except to put it to work in your life.  It will make a difference in the way you view yourself, others, and the whole world.

The Stirring of the Enemy

Does God have his hand on the dealings of and with His people, and even the wicked of the world?  A short, but true answer is “Of course He does”.  You will believe that if you believe God and His word.  If you do not believe it.  Guess what?  Does not take a whole lot of guessing.

When the people of God walk with Him through faith there is not a need for worry or fear.  The enemy will stay away.  Mostly out of fear because of who you know; and Him knowing you too.  However there is a negative side – we have not banned the word “Negative” have we?  Hear what is written in 1 Chronicles…

“And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.” 1 Chronicles 5:25-26 (KJV)

Remember what I shared in yesterday’s post from Proverbs about our ways pleasing the LORD?  That fits right in with the theme of today’s word.

When we turn our hearts and backs against the LORD, His Son, His Spirit and His word then we can expect to find ourselves plagued by enemy attacks.  Do not get me wrong; I know that when things are going well between you and the Lord the enemy will attack too.  When the enemy attacks as in the above verse in Chronicles God uses it to drive us back to Him.  The enemy will attack us when we are right with God to distract us from loving God, and His word.  That calls for much prayer and discernment.

Those of us who truly love God know when we are walking with God or not.  When we are walking with God the fruit of the Spirit is evident in our walk in life (Galations 5:22-26).  You know when you are not right with Him too, because there will be no love, no peace, no joy;  your heart and mouth will be filled with vulgarity, rudeness, bitterness and anger; these things will proceed from you mouth.

If the enemy is stirring against you God is calling you to repent.  All it takes is to say something simple from your pleading heart… “Lord help me.”  He will hear and He will deliver you.  He has mad that possible through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ; the God-Man, God the Son.